Whether folks are heading to the beach, a picnic, or a concert in the park, a wheeled cooler makes a great travel mate. The best coolers with wheels come in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors, but the ideal model should suit the individual needs and lifestyle of the user—these are far from one-size-fits-all items.
The best coolers with wheels are lightweight yet sturdy with long handles and durable wheels that grip. They roll with ease and keep refreshments ice-cold, and they should also be durable and easy to clean. Read on to learn more about what to look for in a rolling cooler and descriptions of our top picks. To help make the decision even easier, we performed hands-on testing with all of the following models to ensure they’re really the best.
- BEST OVERALL: Magellan Outdoors 45-Quart Pro Explore Icebox
- RUNNER-UP: Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme 5-Day Wheeled Cooler
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Igloo 38-Quart Wheelie Cool Cooler
- UPGRADE PICK: Pelican 80-Quart Elite Wheeled Cooler
- BEST ROTOMOLDED: Yeti Roadie 60 Wheeled Cooler
- BEST CAPACITY: Igloo Sunset Glide 110-Quart Wheeled Cooler
- BEST WHEELS: RovR RollR 45-Quart Cooler
- BEST FOR THE BEACH: Igloo Trailmate Journey 70-Quart Wheeled Cooler
- ALSO CONSIDER: Igloo 60-Quart Ecocool Roller Cooler
How We Tested the Best Wheeled Coolers
We wanted to ensure that we were suggesting only the best-rated wheeled coolers, so we performed hands-on testing with all of these models. We wanted to check out their features, such as handles, wheels, latches, and lids. We also sought to ensure that they were easy to roll, even when fully loaded. We bought over 320 pounds of ice and filled these rolling coolers before rolling them around, lifting them, and testing the individual creature comforts.
Most importantly, we had to know how well they’d maintain safe temperatures. Meat becomes more perishable over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and rapid bacteria growth starts at 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so we needed to determine how well these coolers would hold the temperature. We placed a block of wood in each of the coolers, resting it on top of the ice. Every day, we’d check the temperature in the center of the blocks with a laser thermometer. We’d then average the temperatures throughout the test, ensuring that these coolers with wheels could not only retain ice but also the cold air it created.
Our Top Picks
Whether for camping trips, beach days, or picnics in the park, a wheeled cooler makes an excellent companion. Roll snacks and beverages wherever they’re needed with the best wheeled coolers on our list. The following models keep drinks ice-cold with excellent insulation. Plus, they come in durable, easy-to-clean, and thoughtful designs.
This well-designed rotomolded wheeled cooler from Magellan boasts an ample 45-quart capacity, nonflat rubber wheels, and a choice of 15 colors. Among its many convenient features are a built-in bottle opener, a rubberized seal around the lid, a removable divider that doubles as a cutting board, and a dry-goods tray. It also features three handle options, including two built into the cooler, two nylon straps with rubber grips, and a metal handle that lifts for easy toting. The one-hand-friendly latches on both sides of the cooler also double as hinges, allowing the user to open the lid from either side—or remove the lid altogether by unsnapping all four latches at once.
The Magellan Outdoors Pro Explore Icebox was quite a surprise during the test. It has as many, if not more, features than brands that cost twice as much. We enjoyed the removable divider’s flexibility and alternate use as a cutting board, and the fact that there are three handle options (the straps proved great for lowering it out of the truck bed and handing it off to someone). But in our opinion, the best feature is the flexibility of the lid. Throughout the test, it held ice very well and recorded an average temperature of 37.5 degrees Fahrenheit. While there’s very little to complain about, with all those features, we figured there’d be cupholders—but nope!
- Capacity: 45 quarts
- Exterior dimensions: 43 inches long by 16.5 inches wide by 16 inches deep
- Wheel type: Nonflat rubber
- Features include a removable divider/cutting board, bottle opener, and dry-goods tray
- Innovative lid design allows opening from either side or full removal
- 3 handle options for easy lifting, rolling, and handing off to a partner
- No cupholders; some users report being unable to close side clips
Get the Magellan Outdoors wheeled cooler at Academy Sports + Outdoors.
Coleman’s ultrainsulated 62-quart Xtreme wheeled cooler keeps ice frozen for up to 5 days with insulation in both the lid and walls. Its roomy interior holds up to 95 cans plus ice. Treaded plastic wheels roll easily over most terrain. A thick handle makes pulling comfortable, even when the cooler is full. The Coleman Xtreme even provides seating, as it supports up to 250 pounds, and there are four molded cupholders in the lid.
While this Coleman isn’t nearly as cool (no pun intended) as some of the other options on the list, its blend of basic features, price, and ice retention made it a favorite in testing. It had no problem retaining ice for the 5 days as claimed, and the average temperature within that time frame was 36.9 degrees Fahrenheit. While it doesn’t have any latches or airtight seals, the lid does fit snuggly to prevent it from popping open. The wheels were a little underwhelming in terms of size and ground clearance, and the plastic lifting handles feel flimsy, but overall, this cooler on wheels does almost everything well.
- Capacity: 62 quarts
- Exterior dimensions: 29.26 inches long by 16.08 inches wide by 18.32 inches deep
- Wheel type: Plastic
- Retains ice for 5 days at temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit
- Lid fits securely to prevent popping open and losing cool air during transport
- Lid boasts 4 built-in cupholders and can serve as a seat supporting 250 pounds
- Plastic wheels are slightly small, offering a limited amount of ground clearance
- Does not have latches; lifting handles are thin and flimsy
Get the Coleman wheeled cooler at Amazon or Camping World.
Folks looking to keep their drinks and food cool without breaking the bank should consider this Wheelie Cool Cooler from Igloo. This small rolling cooler has a 38-quart capacity, allowing it to hold up to 53 drink cans plus ice, despite being compact and lightweight. For easy, versatile rolling, it boasts hard plastic wheels with treads.
The 38-quart Wheelie Cool Cooler features a long plastic handle that flips up and makes pulling a full cooler a breeze. Also, the full-length lid requires the user to flip it back, ensuring that items inside don’t pop the lid open during transport, as some side-opening coolers on wheels may.
At first, we thought this cooler couldn’t compete with others in our lineup, but testing showed it could actually hold ice for 3 days with an average temperature of 40.6 degrees Fahrenheit. While that’s right on the border of being safe for meat, it’s more than suitable for drinks. We liked the secure lid design, despite its lack of a latch and being somewhat unorthodox (most rectangular lids open to the side, but this one opens front to back). The ice chest with wheels rolled well, with the lightweight handle and hard plastic wheels doing their job. And regardless of whether it’s suitable for meat storage, its price point makes it a great option for anyone in the market for a compact wheeled cooler for a day to the beach or park.
- Capacity: 38 quarts
- Exterior dimensions: 22.75 inches long by 15.88 inches wide by 12.88 inches deep
- Wheel type: Hard plastic with treads
- Front-to-back opening prevents the cooler’s lid from opening during transport
- Affordable price; held ice for 3 days and can fit 53 drink cans
- Hard plastic wheels and lightweight handle are excellent for mobility
- Average temperature during test was over 40 degrees Fahrenheit
Get the Igloo Wheelie wheeled cooler at The Home Depot or Target.
This premium wheeled cooler from Pelican is ideal for folks who are serious about the outdoors. This rugged, 80-quart rolling cooler not only keeps food and drinks cold but also claims to keep bears out. Polyurethane insulation maintains ideal contents temperature and retains ice for up to 10 days. Its latches are durable and extra wide for easy use with gloved hands, and it has rustproof, stainless steel locking plates and hardware.
The Pelican Elite has heavy-duty wheels that can handle all types of terrain, while an integrated fish scale and built-in bottle opener add to its outdoorsy chops. There’s a garden-hose-attachable drain so it can be emptied of water away from the picnic area or campsite. It also has a built-in rubber seal to help retain cool temperatures and prevent leaks.
This Pelican cooler is an absolute beast: overbuilt, with thick built-in lifting handles, a large rolling handle, and grizzly-bear-proof lid. Its claim of 10-day ice retention proved true, and its average temperature over 5 days was 37.8 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well below the mark for storing meat. The large wheels made rolling it in and out of the garage a breeze, despite its large size. We also liked how the flip-up handle snapped in place and provided a secure handhold. Thick rubber pads on the bottom kept this Pelican in place while driving it around in the bed of our truck. Everything stayed secure during transportation—surprising, considering this cooler weighs 52 pounds when empty.
- Capacity: 80 quarts
- Exterior dimensions: 42.88 inches long by 20.75 inches wide by 20.25 inches deep
- Wheel type: Heavy-duty plastic
- Burly design is rough and ready for just about any outdoor adventure
- Holds ice for up to 10 days, and retains temperatures well below the meat-storage temperature
- Thick rubber pads at bottom hold cooler in place during transportation in a truck bed
- Weighs 52 pounds; some may find it cumbersome to move around
Get the Pelican wheeled cooler at Amazon, Pelican, or West Marine.
The Yeti Roadie 60 Wheeled Cooler is a tough rotomolded model that’s ready for just about anything without being too large or bulky for everyday use. This Yeti has a telescoping aluminum handle and two tall wheels that make wheeling it around, even when fully loaded, a breeze.
Injected polyurethane insulation helps it retain ice for several days (though the manufacturer doesn’t claim how many). It also has built-in lifting handles as well as tie-down locations for securing it in a truck bed or on a boat. Latches are simple to use one-handed. There’s a dry-goods bin that sits in a groove at the top of the cooler’s interior to keep items like fruit from coming in contact with ice.
In testing, there was so much to like about the Yeti Roadie. Its construction feels extremely solid, even when sitting on its lid. The wheels are large and provide a few inches of ground clearance, and the aluminum handle telescopes in and out easily. It maintained ice for the entirety of our test, holding an average temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit throughout. We also liked the latch design—a breeze to use compared to the thick rubber straps we’re accustomed to with this brand. Also, between the built-in tie-down locations and rubber feet, it stays in place while driving. The biggest complaint we could muster is that it doesn’t have a locking hasp to keep the lid secure.
- Capacity: 60 quarts
- Exterior dimensions: 23.7 inches long by 20 inches wide by 20.5 inches deep
- Wheel type: Nonflat rubber
- Large wheels provide ample ground clearance; telescoping handle makes pulling it about easy
- Convenient dry-goods bin keeps desired items up and out of the ice
- Rubber feet and tie-downs ensure it doesn’t bounce around in the bed of a truck
- No locking hasp to keep the lid closed and secure
Get the Yeti wheeled cooler at Amazon, Yeti, or Dick’s Sporting Goods.
For serious cooler capacity, check out Igloo’s 110-quart large cooler with wheels that holds an impressive 168 cans. Its high-performance Ultratherm foam-insulated walls and lid keep cans cold, offering up to 5 days of ice retention.
A horizontal telescopic handle with a comfortable grip requires 50 percent less effort to lift than other models. Soft-ride wheels make transport easy across uneven terrain as well.
This might not be the toughest cooler, or the one with the fanciest features, but it definitely can hold some ice, food, and drinks. We appreciated its large capacity as it can handle plenty of food and drinks, but we also liked the sliding handle with a cushioned grip, as it makes shuffling this large cooler around easy and comfortable, even when fully loaded. It held ice for longer than the 5-day period, and its average in that window was a chilly 36.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which was our lowest average temp in the test. Our only complaint was that the latches seem really cheap and don’t snap securely, though the lid fits snugly on its own.
- Capacity: 110 quarts
- Exterior dimensions: 39.7 inches long by 18.6 inches wide by 19.7 inches deep
- Wheel type: Nonflat rubber
- Holds loads of ice, drinks, and food for a party on the go
- Telescoping handle with padded grip makes rolling comfortable and easy
- Recorded the lowest average temperature during testing, ensuring it can keep food and drinks safe
- Low-quality latches may break over time, depending on amount of use
Get the Igloo Sunset wheeled cooler at Amazon, Igloo, or Dick’s Sporting Goods.
When it comes to rolling with the punches, few coolers can do it better than the RovR RollR. This 45-quart cooler comes with a set of rubber street and off-road tires, allowing it to go just about anywhere (except for the beach). But if the sand and waves are calling, the RollR has an optional set of smooth rubber tires available that users can swap themselves.
This rotomolded cooler claims grizzly-proof construction and features ample tie-downs to keep it in place on the road. There’s even a bike arm attachment that users can hook to their bike for easy transportation. The included LandR bag on top (which straps into place securely) transports dry goods. Should the party last 8 days, there will still be ice inside.
We appreciated this model’s slick wheels and really enjoyed the smooth rubber wheels for beach transport. The LandR bag proved to be a nice touch as well, as not only does it match the cooler, but it straps in place securely. Also, for items that don’t necessarily belong in the bag but that shouldn’t get wet, the included dry-goods basket inside the cooler was great. The RovR RollR 45 held ice throughout with an average temperature of 38.5 degrees Fahrenheit. But despite those impressive numbers, this model is a small cooler on wheels for its price tag.
- Capacity: 45 quarts
- Exterior dimensions: 22.5 inches long by 19.3 inches wide by 18.9 inches deep
- Wheel type: Inflatable rubber
- Swappable wheels let users switch between heavy-duty all-terrain to smooth-sailing sand
- LandR bag secures to the lid to prevent items from falling during transport
- Available with an arm to hook it to a bike for even easier transportation
- Expensive for its small size compared to similar wheeled coolers
Get the RovR wheeled cooler at Amazon, Backcountry, REI, RovR, or Camping World.
Taking the party to the beach not only just got easier but also more organized. The Trailmate Journey 70-quart cooler from Igloo has built-in features that make the trip from the car to the blanket a breeze, including large, wide tires that roll nicely across the sand while also offering plenty of ground clearance.
The long padded handle snaps into two positions for transport, while the lid has built-in cupholders and a removable tray underneath that sits on the extended handle to serve as a small table. The Trailmate also features removable umbrella or rod holders as well as a tray for items that shouldn’t sit on the ice (although it won’t keep them dry). For items that must stay dry, there is a storage compartment in the front with a water-resistant seal and a spot for a small padlock. There is even a mesh pocket for sunblock, books, and other small items.
The Trailmate Journey truly proved to be feature rich and the best beach cooler with wheels. We appreciated the padded handle and ground clearance the most, as it can travel over almost anything. We also liked the safe water-resistant storage for cell phones and valuables. The capacity isn’t too shabby either, handling more than enough food and drinks for a day at the beach. The biggest complaint that we had was a bit of a fit-and-finish issue on the back of the cooler, as some of the polyurethane insulation was visible in the model we tested.
- Capacity: 70 quarts
- Exterior dimensions: 34.59 inches long by 19.7 inches wide by 23.61 inches deep
- Wheel type: Nonflat rubber
- Wide, tall tires provide plenty of ground clearance for traversing sand or rutty trails
- Built-in lockable dry-storage compartment keeps valuables safe and dry while snoozing in the sun
- Built-in features abound: removable tray, bottle opener, umbrella and rod holders, and a mesh pocket
- Fit and finish issue on the back side of the cooler
Get the Igloo Trailmate wheeled cooler at Amazon or The Home Depot.
Folks who want to ensure they’re being as responsible as possible with their plastic usage should consider the Igloo Ecocool Roller Cooler. This 60-quart cooler is made from postconsumer-recycled plastic, meaning there is less plastic in landfills. And for those worried about wasting water, this cooler holds ice for up to 5 days.
The cooler has a 60-quart capacity, which allows it to hold up to 93 cans. It also has hard plastic wheels and a telescoping metal handle. The lid boasts four cupholders, and there are two built-in molded handles for lifting the cooler into and out of a truck bed or vehicle trunk.
Eco-friendly products are great in theory but often subpar in function. Fortunately, that’s not the case with the Ecocool. This model held ice for the advertised 5 days without an issue and averaged a temperature of 38.6 degrees Fahrenheit—well below the mark for safe meat storage. It also rolled well and the handle worked just fine. The cupholders are a little shallow for our taste, but they self-drain, meaning the condensation runs down the can, into the cupholder, and off the side of the cooler, keeping cold drinks from dripping condensation on our laps. While there wasn’t a latch, the lid fits snugly and securely. The biggest complaint is that Igloo went all in on the green-mindedness and only offers this cooler in sage green.
- Capacity: 60 quarts
- Exterior dimensions: 21.72 inches long by 18.27 inches wide by 19.75 inches deep
- Wheel type: Plastic
- Eco-friendly option made from postconsumer plastic, meaning there is less plastic in landfills
- Temperature and ice retention on par with coolers made with less environmental consciousness
- Cupholders are self-draining, preventing puddles and keeping condensation away from users’ laps
- Cupholders are slightly shallow; item is only available in sage green
Get the Igloo Ecocool wheeled cooler at Target, REI, or Igloo.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Wheeled Cooler
With the right wheeled cooler, cold beverages and snacks will stay at the ideal temperature for at least the length of the party, game, or performance. The best rolling coolers make it easy to bring favorite food and drinks to the park, to the beach, or even across rugged terrain during camping trips. When choosing a suitable cooler, consider the type, size/capacity, handle length, wheel type, temperature retention, and additional ease-of-use features.
- Hard coolers often include a few common features, such as folding or telescoping handles and latched lids. Built-in cupholders on the lid provide a stable spot to place a drink. Many hard coolers provide a sturdy enough surface to double as a seat.
- As for soft coolers, their flexible design makes them easier to store, and some collapse to fold flat when not in use. When it comes to soft coolers, wheels are harder to come by. But some brands offer handles and wheels for easy portability.
- Rotomolded coolers are a type of hard cooler made with a specific manufacturing process that makes them incredibly durable; some can even stand up to grizzly bears’ attempts to get inside.
Note: For this test, we found that most soft coolers wouldn’t meet our criteria—very few even had wheels. However, in terms of simple one-day portable coolers, there are plenty of high-quality soft coolers that can do the trick.
Capacity is a key consideration when it comes to the best wheeled cooler. These handy ice boxes range in size from small 20-quart coolers that provide room for a six-pack, an ice pack, and a few snacks to large 110-quart models that hold refreshments for an entire Little League team.
The cooler’s total size matters, too. It can affect mobility in tight or crowded spaces and also impacts storage and transport. Make sure the chosen cooler will fit on that designated shelf in the garage and slide easily in and out of a trunk or truck bed. A small cooler is perfect for storage or tight vehicles, but a large hard-sided model can double as a seat or table at the campsite or in the backyard, so even those large, bulky coolers have their benefits.
Ice retention is a measure of how well a cooler does its main job: keeping items chilled. Ice-retention times vary widely, depending on the quality of the cooler. Some of the best models keep cold for a week. More budget-friendly options may only keep cool for a day.
Insulation materials affect retention times. Most coolers use Styrofoam insulation. Tucked between the inner and outer walls of the cooler, Styrofoam makes for affordable and effective insulation. The more expensive models often offer a polyurethane insulation layer, which is also foam but better at insulating than standard foam.
Unsurprisingly, the best coolers with wheels feature fully insulated sides and lids to stay cooler for longer. An airtight seal that helps keep heat out is another plus. Also, shoppers will want to keep in mind that hard coolers tend to be better insulated and keep items cooler for longer than soft coolers.
When shopping for a cooler with wheels, transportability is likely a top priority. The different transportability features required depend on the cooler’s intended use. Such features as size, handle height, and wheel type all work together to contribute to portability.
- Wheels make for an easier-to-transport cooler. The best wheel type depends on where the cooler will most likely be rolling; some wheel types are better suited for rugged camping, while others are made for maintained grass and city pavements. Consider the wheel size, material, tread, and durability when picking out the ideal cooler.
- Wheel type/size: Smaller, smoother wheels traverse even terrain, such as pavement and groomed lawns, with ease. Larger, treaded wheels are a must for uneven terrain and unpaved surfaces like the beach and hiking trails.
- Material quality/tread: Most rolling-cooler wheels are made of molded plastic because it is sturdy, waterproof, and affordable. Some coolers have wheels with rims and rubber tires for smoother rolling. Wheels may be smooth or treaded. The best style depends on terrain: Treaded wheels provide better traction on uneven surfaces like trails and off-road environments, while smooth wheels roll well along city sidewalks and across parking lots. Also, wheels meant for sandy environments tend to be a combination of both: large and rugged but smooth.
- Durability: Coolers with rubber tires look neat and can tackle tough terrains, but they can fall victim to leaks. If rubber is desired, look for thick, high-quality tires or nonflat rubber wheels. Leaks aren’t a concern with plastic wheels, but be sure to keep wheels clean and dry to prevent them from getting squeaky, sticky, or rusty.
- Handle length affects ease of transport. Ideally, users want a handle that won’t require them to crouch or stoop to move the cooler. Also, consider handle placement. Awkward handle placement can be just as uncomfortable as a handle that’s too short. Look for designs that won’t hit ankles while the user is wheeling those chilled beverages about.
Wheeled coolers may include a range of extra accessories and built-in features. Some accessories like removable shelves, interior organizers, and zippered or mesh pockets help with organization, so canned drinks don’t end up crushing sandwiches and fruit en route. Coolers of any type may include built-in bottle openers so there’s always a way to pop a cold one wherever the party might roll.
Here’s a rundown of the added features to look for:
- Built-in or removable shelving, organizers, and pockets
- Built-in cupholders
- A surface to sit on
- A collapsible design
- Built-in bottle openers
Tips for Using a Wheeled Cooler
With proper use, cleaning, and maintenance, a wheeled cooler will stay fresh and functional for seasons to come. Ahead are a few tips for caring for a wheeled cooler.
- Take care not to overload a wheeled cooler. Excessive weight may bend the wheel frame or otherwise damage the cooler.
- Clean the cooler as soon as possible after each use to prevent spills, stains, and odors from soaking into the walls.
- Warm water and soap is often enough to clean a wheeled cooler. Take a sponge or cloth and clean the cooler thoroughly, wiping the inside, outside, lid, and wheels.
- Tackle tough odors with common household items like vinegar and baking soda.
- Let the cooler completely dry, with the lid off, before storing.
Store the cooler somewhere dry to prevent mildew, and preferably out of direct sunlight to preserve the color and integrity of the exterior.
Accidents or wear and tear can cause damage to cooler wheels. If the cooler is in need of a wheel replacement, look for an appropriate wheel kit (many brands sell replacement wheels) and replace the wheels as needed.
Still trying to decide on the best rolling cooler for you? Here’s some more information to help you choose.
Q. How long do wheeled coolers last?
Well-built coolers with wheels can last many years. Look for rustproof hardware and sturdy, well-designed hinges, wheels, and closing mechanisms that can stand up to heavy use, as it’s those components that can fail.
Q. How can you keep a cooler cold for 3 days?
Choose a cooler designed to stay cold for longer periods of time. Some coolers keep cold for 5 days or more, thanks to closed-cell foam insulation.
Q. How do you clean and maintain a wheeled cooler?
Clean your cooler with soap and water immediately after each use so it does not absorb stains or smells.
Q. How do you put wheels on a nonwheeled cooler?
With a cooler wheel kit, you can transform a nonwheeled cooler into an adventure-ready cruiser. Installation depends on the wheel-kit type. Some install using a handful of strategically placed straps, while others require some drilling.
Q. How do you change the wheels on a cooler?
To change the wheels on a cooler, try to find replacement wheels from the cooler’s manufacturer to ensure a good fit. Once you have the wheel set, changing the wheels typically requires just a few steps and some common household tools, like a screwdriver.
Q. Can I use dry ice in my cooler?
Yes, it is safe to use dry ice in some coolers, as long as you follow some precautions. The cooler needs to have a ventilation method to release the evaporating gas. Keep in mind that dry ice gives off carbon dioxide gas, so take care not to keep the cooler in enclosed spaces for too long. You should also take steps to protect the interior of the cooler from the extreme cold by wrapping the dry ice or lining the cooler with Styrofoam or cardboard.
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